Sara Toronto: Japanese Small Plates on Portland

Sara Toronto is the newest edition to King and Portland’s fine dining scene (Gusto 101, Lee, Oretta). It’s the Food Dudes’ more refined sister restaurant to their grittier Rasa concept. Located in a two-story Victorian house, the 2400 sq ft space was totally gutted and transformed into a bright and airy dining experience.

The 2nd floor dining room at Sara Toronto
The 2nd floor dining room at Sara Toronto

Sara Toronto: Design

Skip up the stairs to the King West restaurant’s second floor and you’ll find a tucked away bar and dining room sitting under a domed ceiling. If you’re hard of hearing or looking to talk to those at your table clearly, be sure to book a table on the main floor as the sound is much more subdued.

I love Sara Toronto’s crisp and clean aesthetic, which was designed by the team at ODAMI. Walls are minimalist white, accented by green potted plants, soft leather turquoise banquettes, and warm wooden chairs. Tabletops are custom white marble featuring wavy edges and an inlaid box made specifically for stowing cell phones. A rather subtle and ingenious way for the kitchen to hint that diners should focus on their meal rather than upping their screen time.

Enjoy a thrill on Sara Toronto's Japanese toilets
Enjoy a thrill on Sara Toronto’s Japanese toilets

Sara Toronto: Attention to Detail

The restaurant’s luxe prices are paired with stellar attention to detail. Servers are outfitted in uniforms by local designer Mary Young. The grey on pink on white combo pairs perfectly with Sara Toronto’s interior design elements. Air purifiers offer a quiet hum, eliminating the pollution from outside. Sara also has her own signature scent, crafted by local essential oil experts Murphy & Jo.

Our two favourite service moments offer a hat tip to Sara Toronto’s Japanese inspired menu. After drinks are served at the table, a ceremonial rolled oshibori towel is placed at the table. The sweetly scented, steaming hot towel offers a refreshing cleanse on a cold winters day. When nature calls, step downstairs and you’ll find a choir of bathrooms outfitted with fancy Japanese toilets. Indulge your fanny in the thrill of a shower and blow dry to complete Sara’s immersive cultural experience.

Craft cocktails at the Sara Toronto bar
Craft cocktails at the Sara Toronto bar

Sara Toronto Bar

Sara’s drinks menu shares a distinct preference for vodka and gin. Four signature cocktails are described by their aromas and flavours and offer suggested pairings with top shelf vodka and gin bottles. You’ll also find a petite list of bottled craft beers and upscale consignment wines. If you’re looking to enjoy an impromptu dinner and the place is packed, hop up on one of the bars soft pink stools. Bartenders are chatty and it’s a perfect perch to people watch.

Squash Latkes at Sara Toronto
Squash Latkes at Sara Toronto

Sara Toronto Menu

Executive Chef Davin Shearer and Chef de Cuisine Mary Dinh have crafted a globally inspired small plates menu, which sing a sweet song to Japan. The luxe priced menu is organized by small dishes, dumplings, and Japanese charcoal grilling.

Several of Sara Toronto’s dishes like the Wagyu Reuben ($18), Pork Dumplings ($13) and Chicken Yakitori ($18) offer a quick bite to be shared between just two people. If you’re looking for a light tasting we’d suggest ordering four dishes between a party of two. If you’re starving (and just won the lottery) you’ll likely want to order four dishes per person as plate portions are petite.

Wagyu Reuben at Sara Toronto
Wagyu Reuben at Sara Toronto

Sara Toronto: Small Dishes

  • Truffle Crullers: parmesan, fermented tomato, honey
  • Squash Latkes: salmon roe, chive cream, kombu syrup
  • “French Fries”: schmaltz, kewpie, kimchi, bonito
  • Hamachi Bites: jalapeno, cucumber, chicharron
  • Shrimp Tempura: umami sauce, ginger, sudachi, nori
Snap Pea Slaw at Sara Toronto
Snap Pea Slaw at Sara Toronto
  • Yellowtail Sashimi: shiro dashi, yuzu, togarashi, shiso
  • Wagyu Reuben: gruyere, truffle mustard, sauerkraut
  • Snap Pea Slaw: asian pear, umeboshi, shio kombu
  • Bincho Broccoli: kohlrabi cake, nuoc mam, almond
  • Chopped Salad: poblano cashew cheese, wasabi peas
  • Laksa Noodles: coconut curry, gai lan, bean sprouts
Shanghai Pork Dumplings at Sara Toronto

Sara Toronto: Dumplings

  • Wonton Soup: mushroom, miso parmesan
  • Scallop & Crab: hollandaise, squid ink
  • Shanghai Pork: chili vinegar, scallion
  • Chicken Wing: shrimp, hoisin mustard
Momo Yakitori at Sara Toronto
Momo Yakitori at Sara Toronto

Sara Toronto: Charcoal Grill

  • King Salmon: sweet chili, avocado, puffed wild rice
  • Black Cod: bagna cauda, hakurei turnip, mostarda
  • Momo Yakitori: cherry umeboshi, mocha, sumac honey
  • Duroc Pork Belly: garlic caramel, green papaya, cashew
  • PEI Aged Rib Eye: onion soubise, mushroom, nasturtium
The entrance at Sara Toronto
The entrance at Sara Toronto

Sara Toronto Hours of Operation

Tuesday to Saturday 5pm to 11pm

Sara Toronto Reservations

98 Portland Street, Toronto, 416-985-5721

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